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September 13, 2005

Posted by atlanticleaguenews in Uncategorized.
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Montefusco OUT as Patriots pitching coach: Geoff Mosher of The Courier News reports that John “The Count” Montefusco has resigned as Patriots pitching coach. I’ll let you read the article, linked here on your own, and save my comments and/or speculation for later as to not try to overstep my bounds here. But I will say that this is probably the biggest news I’ve seen in my three years of covering the league. Bigger than Rickey coming, bigger than Rocker coming or going.

Afternoon Update: The team has now released an official statement from GM Patrick McVerry: “John has been with our organization for six seasons and has helped make our pitching staff one of the best in minor league baseball. He has proven a lot in his position with our team, but he has decided it was time for him to move on. Although the timing of the resignation may not be the best, it is accepted, and we will move forward. The Patriots thank John for his many years of service to our team and wish him the best in all his future endeavors,”

I’ll be curious to see if he gets replaced by the end of the season (I doubt it) and who’ll take over for him in 2006. Outside of saying, “this sucks,” I really have no insight to offer until I get to the ballpark on Thursday, as anything I said would be pure speculation. I had absolutely no idea this was coming, so I can’t even pretend to be informed on this one.

Night Update: This has been one of the more popular news items posted, as several fans have contacted me regarding this. Believe me when I tell you I’m just as curious, if not more so, than you guys are to find out what’s happened here. I think there could be a wide variety of things going on – ranging from him being fed up with the league (see: his comments about sloppy play in one of Geoff’s recent articles and his dirt kicking, umpire bumping incident from a few days ago) to being frustrated with the quality of the pitching staff he’s had to work with after the departures of several pitchers to affiliated ball and elsewhere.

First game in “Post Count” era unsuccessful, but a record falls: The Somerset Patriots lost another barnburner to the Barnstormers, 14-11. Brent Cordell hit two of the Patriots six home runs, going 5-for-5 on the night. Ray Navarrete, Kevin Nicholson, Jeff Nettles and Ryan Radmanovich also connected for home runs. Nettles’ home run, his 26th, set a new single season record for the Patriots.

Davis becomes Ducks’ franchise wins leader: With his victory in the Ducks 9-2 stomping of Bridgeport, Ducks P Lance Davis earned his 18th win as a member of the Ducks, eclipsing the previous record of 17 set by Rod Henderson. Henderson threw the first no-hitter in Atlantic League history.

ASHMORE BREAKS DOWN THE PLAYOFF RACE

Bluefish Officially Eliminated: With 11 games left to play and with them being 13.5 games out of the 2nd half division lead, the Bridgeport Bluefish are officially out of the playoffs. Some would argue that the Bluefish have been eliminated since about 10 games into the second half…

Newark Next To Go: The Bears are 10.5 games out of the division lead and have 12 games remaining. A Ducks win and a Bears loss or two Bears losses eliminate Newark from playoff contention. For the latest standings, head on over to the main site for division and wild card standings.

Ducks must win division for playoff berth: Four games under .500 and now 13.5 games behind wild card leader Camden and 8.5 games behind 2nd place Atlantic City, it seems impossible for the Ducks to win the wild card. Therefore, they must hang onto their slim 1.5 game lead in the North Division to make the playoffs.

Scenario in which both AC and Camden make playoffs: The only way in which the South Division will have 3 representatives – barring a miraculous turnaround by Somerset – is if Nashua wins the division. If Nashua wins both halves, then the wild card spot would go to the team with the best overall record that isn’t in already. With AC or Camden destined to win the second half, the only way the team that doesn’t win gets in is if Nashua wins the second half and the spot is awarded to a 3rd South Division team.

Wild Card spots are awarded regardless of division, and the teams are “re-seeded” only if both first half winners win the second half as well. So, as far as I understand it, in theory you could have two South Division teams facing each other for the championship. This is, of course, all a moot point if the Ducks hang onto their division lead as it would lead to no wild card spots being awarded.

REMAINING GAMES FOR PLAYOFF CONTENDERS

AC: 1 @ NWK, 4 @ BPT, 3 vs. CAM, 4 vs. BPT (5 road, 7 home)
CAM: 1 @ NAS, 4 @ SOM, 3 @ AC, 4 vs. SOM (8 road, 4 home)
LI: 1 @ BPT, 4 vs. NWK, 3 vs. LAN, 4 @ NAS (5 road, 7 home)

Atlantic City is up 2 games on Camden for the second half title
Camden is up 5 games on Atlantic City for a wild card spot
Long Island is up 1.5 games on Nashua for the second half title

Atlantic City has a huge edge over Camden with 3 more games at home. However, with the Surf often drawing small crowds and their playing surface always a question mark, you have to wonder how much of a home field advantage that really provides. But, if it does come down to the three game series that the Surf and Riversharks play in Atlantic City, you have to give the Surf the edge. Not to mention that the ‘Sharks would have to make up the 2 games they’re already behind.

The Ducks winning the division will likely come down to the huge 4 game series in Nashua. Will Nashua really have anything to play for at that point, though? I mean, they’re already in the playoffs and with their absolutely beleaguered pitching staff, Butch Hobson is going to have to rest his guys before the playoffs.

With that said, here’s what I think will happen…

The Riversharks pitching will overcome all and they will beat the Surf for the second half crown by a maximum of two games.

The Ducks will hold onto their lead in the division and beat Nashua by three or four games. They might have to sign every Duck who’s ever played for them in the past to do it, but they will get in.

As a result, there will be no wild card spot. The Surf will not make the playoffs.

– Mike Ashmore –

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